India Rain, Dust Storm Kills at Least 90, Injures 160

Casey Dawson
May 4, 2018

Sandstorms, accompanied by extremely strong winds, are common for the summer season in these parts of India.

Almost 200 others were injured as a massive dust storm last night, followed by thundershowers, snapped power lines and sent tin roofs and street hoardings flying in parts of eastern Rajasthan and the adjoining areas of Uttar Pradesh.

At least 64 people died and another 67 were injured in northern Uttar Pradesh state, Kumar said. These included three each in Bijnor and Kanpur Dehat, two each in Saharanpur, Hamirpur, Mirzapur and Kanpur city; and one each in Bareilly, Pilibhit, Chitrakoot, Rae Bareli, Unnao, Mathura, Amroha, Banda, Sitapur, Sambhal, Etawah, Allahabad and Rampur. Many homes collapsed in the night after being struck by lightning, crushing the sleeping families inside.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has organized officers to monitor the aid efforts. Dust storms tore across northern India killing at least 77 people and injuring 143 as trees and walls were flattened by powerful winds, officials said May 3.

In Rajasthan, while the official figures were of 33 deaths, unofficial sources pegged the casualties at 39. Officials said 90 people were injured while 134 domestic animals were killed in the state. "It will affect areas of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan border, especially Karauli and Dholpur", Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) scientist Himanshu Sharma said.

In east Rajasthan, apart from Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur, the department has warned dust storm/heat wave till Monday in Bhilwara and Bundi districts.

Local governments of both the states have reportedly announced a compensation fund of 400,000 rupees for the families of the deceased.

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Forty-three people died there as the wind speed touched 130kms/h, said Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar of Uttar Pradesh state.

Similar storms kill hundreds of people each year in India, but these were some of the most severe in recent decades.

"The villain was a huge thunderstorm complex that swept through the area overnight, generating high winds that also carried lots of dust", says Bob Henson, a meteorologist and writer at Weather Underground.

T.P. Gupta of the Uttar Pradesh relief commissioner's office told AFP, the number of lost lives was "unprecedented".

"Saddened by the loss of lives due to dust storms in various parts of India". The damage done by dust storm in Bharatpur was vast as 138 persons suffered injuries, while in Dholpur 50 persons and in Alwar 17 persons received injuries, says, the state government's official figures. Agra was the most affected district.

"With temperatures expected to rise again and continuous incursion of moisture, Rajasthan will see more thunderstorms and dust storms", said an IMD official. Dholpur district was the worst affected with 17 killed, according to officials.

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